Celebrating Benjamin Britten’s Centenary with San Francisco Symphony

Jun 11, 2014

Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the San Francisco Symphony in three weeks of concerts celebrating English composer Benjamin Britten’s centenary. The Britten concerts begin June 12 to 15 with a program comprising excerpts from the composer’s ballet scoreThe Prince of the Pagodas, along with an instrumental and dance work from the Balinese performing arts group Gamelan Sekar Jaya, and Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with Gil Shaham.

Britten, Copland & Shostakovich

The following week from June 19 to 21, MTT and the orchestra perform Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, featuring tenor Toby Spence and SFS Principal Horn Robert Ward. To further highlight Britten’s musical influences, the program includesDanzón Cubano by the English composer’s contemporary and friend Aaron Copland, as well as Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 15 in A Major.

Semi-staged Peter Grimes

The Britten concerts culminate June 26 to 29 as MTT leads a semi-staged production of the composer’s opera Peter Grimes. Tenor Stuart Skelton sings the title role, with soprano Elza van den Heever  as Ellen Orford, baritone Alan Opie as Captain Balstrode, mezzo-sopranos Ann Murray as Auntie and Nancy Maultsby as Mrs. Sedley, tenors Richard Cox as Bob Boles and Kim Begley as Horace Adams, baritone Eugene Brancoveanu as Ned Keene, bass John Relyea as Mr. Swallow, and the SFS Chorus. The semi-staged production will feature staging and costumes by James Darrah, and video installations by Adam Larsen.

Four Sea Interludes with video by Tal Rosner

On June 28, MTT and the SFS present a special concert featuring Britten’s Four Sea Interludes fromPeter Grimes, as well as excerpts from The Prince of the Pagodas. Four Sea Interludes is accompanied an SFS co-commissioned video interpretation of the work by artist Tal Rosner. It received its world premiere at the New World Center in Miami with MTT and the New World Symphony in October 2013.

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